Every morning in my house starts about the same. My alarm goes off. My husband rolls over and smacks it to the floor, I reach down and grab it, and then we argue. By 7 a.m. I am usually moving way too fast to stop and take stock of the way my body moves or my children laugh. We are usually too busy to do much more than get out the door without screaming.
By 7:15, we are usually arguing. The arguments are different, but usually some variant over whose turn it is to pack the lunches or get in the shower first or walk the dog or do the dishes we were too tired to do the night before. By the time our children are up and moving, we are usually running late, yelling at one another, and disgruntled. Once the hubs and kids are out the door, I run to my computer and start my day. If I'm lucky, around 1 p.m. I emerge to grab a quick bite for lunch, and then I spend the rest of my day typing and proofing and emailing until my eyes actually burn.
Then, if I'm lucky, I get my kids and they behave well enough for me to work again a bit in the evening. Then we fight to get them into their bath, PJs, and beds and then, after stories and back tickling, we are still usually subject to at least four more wake-up calls before they finally fall asleep.
In short: my days are exhausting and often very frustrating. In any given moment, I'm raging or stressed or angry about something and in the moments where I'm not? I'm trying furiously to get something accomplished. My days don't leave a lot of time for reflection or for peace and there are very few moments where I get a chance to breathe and focus on what really matters: my healthy children, our close marriage, my body that can run decently paced marathons, two good jobs, and relative comfort.
In a city where so many people are well-off and well-educated, it can become easy to lose perspective or to believe that somehow if you're not making $500,000 or living in a mansion while working on your third Pulitzer, you're somehow a loser. It usually takes someone else's tragedy -- a sick child, a lost job, a foreclosure -- for me to realize just how fortunate I am.
Sometimes it's just easier to focus on things things I don't have yet. This year, I want to make a commitment to end that. I want to look at my life the way others do and see what they see -- a very happy, intact family full of love and comfort. We may not be perfect, but sometimes it gets pretty close. I have the things I always wanted -- a job that is creative and I enjoy doing, two beautiful and healthy children, and a marriage that is truly a best friendship (with benefits).
We have money to travel and vacation time that allows it. We have loving grandparents to watch the children and I have a sport I do, not because I'm on some mission to stay thin, but because I truly love it. All in all, it's a pretty nice life from above, but I often don't see it that way because I'm too mired in it.
This year, my goal is to be grateful and to take stock, even in the chaos, of what really matters. It shouldn't take a tragedy or comparing my life to others to make me grateful for what I have.
To this end, at the end of the day, my husband and I will reconnect, take stock, and name the things we are grateful for that day. Whether it's something funny our daughter said or a sub 21-minute 5K time, there is almost always something that can make us feel good.
A little gratitude goes a long way in terms of overall happiness and positivity and this year, I am vowing to prove that.
Are you always grateful?